As previously noted, Ring of Honor and New Japan star Matt Taven spoke with Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY Podcast. During the conversation, Taven talked about challenging for ROH World Championship against Jay Lethal tonight at ROH's 17th Anniversary show.
Taven is adamant that he should be recognized as the "real" ROH World Champion after the controversial finish to last summer's four-way title match between Lethal, Taven, Dalton Castle, and Cody Rhodes. Furthermore, he had expected Lethal to watch a replay of the match and relinquish the title to him.
"It's the real Ring of Honor world champion, Matt Taven. Title or not, does it change the fact that I'm the actual World Champion? I don't believe so," Taven stated. "All you have to do is go back and watch the match, I pinned Dalton Castle for an eight count right in the middle of the ring. The referee, for no apparent reason, is checking on Jay Lethal who, I believe, is purposely distracting the referee. And Jay Lethal wants to say he's a man of his word, this franchise player, he's just this all around great guy. And if he is any man that he says he is, after watching the replay of that match, you should have walked up to me and handed me the ROH title or, you know, at least offered me a world title shot. But he did none of that, because he knows that Matt Taven is the true Ring of Honor World Champion."
Taven is outspoken regarding his feelings towards the original ROH Championship title. Instead of watching Lethal carry around the belt he believed he deserved, Taven revealed his own version and deemed it the "real" ROH World Title.
"The title that Jay was carrying around was meaningless, and just for all the reasons I just stated," Taven said. "He's going to walk around and call himself the champion? Like, what a fraud. So, I did exactly what I should have done and that's how I felt about that title, that title was garbage."
With the utmost confidence that he will defeat him again and again, Taven informed listeners that Lethal can have a rematch for the ROH World Title once he potentially loses it at 17th Anniversary.
"I would be a hypocrite and making everything that I've ever said false if I wasn't a man of my word and lived up to the time honored tradition of giving a man a championship rematch," Taven explained. "I have no problem facing Jay lethal. I've faced Jay Lethal more times than I can count. I think my record probably speaks for itself against Jay Lethal, so I have no problem whatsoever giving Jay Lethal the shot that he deserves, just like he should have gave me the shot that I deserve."
Despite a card that is bound to be loaded, Taven's plan is to win the ROH World Title from Lethal and then go on to main event the NJPW/ROH G1 Supercard show at Madison Square Garden on WrestleMania weekend.
"I have every intention of winning the ROH championship in Vegas and heading in to that show as the champion, so, of course I think that I should be the last man to enter Madison Square Garden that night," Taven said.
Taven delved further in to the ongoing partnership between Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, describing their relationship as "stronger than ever". He looks forward to the upcoming shows where New Japan and ROH talents get to go head-to-head in the ring.
"I believe it's been announced that the War of the Worlds will be coming in May again. After just coming back from the Honor Rising show, and obviously with Madison Square Garden coming, it seems like the relationship between New Japan and Ring of Honor is stronger than ever," Taven explained. "And I believe that they have every intention of continuing the tradition that they've had in place so far. That tour in May, four days throughout, like, the into Toronto and then back in to the Midwest, should be full of New Japan talents, and it's always fun when New Japan and ROH talents get to go head to head like that."
With The Elite's Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega all leaving behind New Japan and Ring of Honor to begin as Executive Vice Presidents for All Elite Wrestling, the roster has seen some resulting shifts made to who's actively competing. Taven sees this as a positive transition, and he holds on to the idea that these new stars will get the fans interest peaking.
"I think if you watch the first couple of shows of the new year, and especially as new guys have come on to the scene, and in to the roster and locker room, I think that the shows speak for themselves and that the matches have spoken for themselves," Taven stated. "And I think that Ring of Honor fans that have been following Ring of Honor are going to see guys that they're into, and guys that will keep them watching the product.
"I think Ring of Honor has done a great job of keeping the talent fresh and making sure that they have their fingers on the pulse of what talents could step in and really fit into the Ring of Honor locker room. You know, right now I think is a really cool time for Ring of Honor. A lot of moving parts and a lot of guys showing up for the first time a lot of fresh, fresh match-ups and I think, you know, as a wrestling fan that's that's something that you're always looking for so right now is a fantastic time to be a Ring of Honor fan."
Regarding the potential of AEW and ROH working together at some point, Taven would prefer to keep his opinions on the matter neutral. Ultimately, Taven wishes them the utmost success in their efforts and he hopes continued growth will result in some welcomed competition.
"I mean, that's that's beyond my pay grade. If someone wants to make me in charge of business decisions, then I would speak on that. But I hope the best for all companies. I mean, competition's always what makes wrestling the best. If you look to any of the golden eras, there's a couple of companies kicking around and everyone's really pushing each other. The others want to bring out their best, and my hope for everyone in wrestling is always to be doing great things, so, hopefully everything works out for all companies."
Matt Taven battles Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship tonight at ROH's 17th Anniversary. It will be air live on PPV and be streamed on-line for HonorClub VIPs. We will have live coverage of the event this event.
Matt Taven's Arm Wrestle Kingdom will take place Friday April 5th from Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theater as part of ROH's Festival of Honor. Wrestling Inc. managing editor Nick Hausman will be serving as the World Armwrestling League's emcee at the event.
Matt's full interview with Wrestling Inc was recently included in an episode of our WINCLY podcast, which you can listen to in the embedded player below. In it Matt discusses his ROH World title match against Jay Lethal this Friday night at ROH's 17th Anniversary PPV, recently spitting on Jay Lethal's ROH Championship, wanting to main event ROH and NJPW's G-1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden, his Arm Wrestle Kingdom event taking place at Festival of Honor, the recent WWE releases and more.